City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare
Fans of the first book – City of Bones – are going to love this. City of Ashes is masterfully suspenseful, and utterly engaging. If you became emersed in the characters’ respective stories in book one, then I can safely say that their individual journeys in City of Ashes will leave you speechless.
What would you do if you were in love with your brother or sister? How confusing, how scary would that be for you? Welcome to the world of Jace and Clary. Of course, when they fell for each other they had no idea they were related. As I’m sure you can imagine, City of Ashes finds things between Jace and Clary a little on the tense side.
Although she is trying really hard, Clary is unable to stop thinking about Jace in a romantic capacity. She tries distracting herself with a new boyfriend, but that doesn’t really work out for her. And Jace, well he deals with it just like everyone expects him to: he tries alienating Clary in every possible way. However, just when readers think that all hope is lost, Jace comes face to face with the original fear demon and we learn that he’s really more in love with Clary than ever before. Everything is a mess, and they’re both unbearably confused.
So what do two kids in this situation do? How long can they keep denying each other? And is it so wrong to act on their feelings, even though society says it is? These are the questions the narrative poses as they tackle their demons – both real and metaphorical. Readers will be stunned, joyed, and totally peeved all at the same time by the outcome.
To make matters worse for Clary and Jace, their father is causing trouble for the Clave, and Jace finds himself in all sorts of strife. Clary does what she can to help him, but how much can you really help a stubborn kid like Jace? And will this only get Clary in trouble too? Valentine’s involvement in this novel will reveal some impressive, yet anxious plot twists and turns.
Some of the secondary characters take a nice big step forward in this book. Although readers were told Alec was gay back in book one, here in City of Ashes, proof is served up on a shiny, glittery, half Asian platter otherwise known as Magnus Bane. I’m either the most naïve person on the planet, or Cassandra Clare did a really good job of hiding the hints that these two were dating within the pages of her story. Magnus is just what Alec needs; he’s got spunk, he’s carefree and he’s very into Alec. So what is stopping Alec from really opening himself up to Magnus, and will Alec get himself together in time? My heart goes out to you Magnus Bane, and I can’t wait to read your story in book three.
Simon – Clary’s best friend – goes through some changes of his own. Totally in love with Clary, Simon finds it difficult to be around Jace. Simon is more perceptive than everyone gives him credit for, and he can see the deep connection Jace and Clary share.
And it burns him up inside.
His anger, his confusion and his self-pity lead him into a place of darkness, and he makes some choices that will change his life – forever.
The reality of growing up is intricately woven into the supernatural elements of this story. The magic, the drama and the fantasy are all portrayed so clearly that its easy to forget that this is just fiction.
Cassandra Clare’s prose is flawless, engaging and a pleasure to read. My enthusiasm for this series increases with every single read through. Like so many others, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the third installment. March 09 can’t get here fast enough.